Cardiff Blues will be without Wales and British & Irish Lions centre Tom Shanklin for the remainder of thier push for Amlin Challenge Cup glory..
The 31-year-old took a blow to his knee during the Magners League win over Ulster in Cardiff a week ago and has been forced to undergo an operation. That surgical procedure will keep the veteran centre from playing field for the rest of the campaign. His side get back into European action next weekend when they travel to Kingston Park to take on the Falcons. That game is the last of the four quarter-finals and the draw for 2009/10 Amlin Challenge Cup semi-finals will be held following the result. The pairings for the semi-finals, to be played on the weekend of 30 April / 1 / 2 May, with the remaining four sides finding out their fates. But for Shanklin, it is another period supporting from the sidelines. had to withdraw from the 2009 British & Irish Lions tour through injury last year and now his latest season has been brought to a premature end. It couldn't have come at a worse time for the Blues, who are embroiled in a bitter battle for Heineken Cup qualification via their own domestic league . Only three Welsh sides secure automatic qualification to the top tournament in the game, and the Blues are by no means certain of making the cut. Shanklin is set to have surgery on his knee to clean it out and is expected to be out of action for up to eight weeks. If that is the case, he will probably be a non-starter for Wales' summer tour to New Zealand.
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.